Ask Dr. Holmes: What is Prazosin?

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dr. william holmesQuestion:

What is Prazosin and why would my child take it?

 Answer:

Prazosin is a medicine that was originally developed to be used for high blood pressure (hypertension), and it has been on the market for many years. In terms of its action, Prazosin is similar to the Clonidine and Guanfacine, both of which have been used in child psychiatry for the past 25-30 years.

There has been an increased interest in Prazosin over the last few years as a result of some research done in military mental health settings. There is evidence that Prazosin may have particular benefit in decreasing nightmares and helping with improved sleep in individuals who are struggling with symptoms of PTSD.

No specific research has been done with child and adolescents, but Prazosin is being used with younger ages in cases where there are strong concerns related to symptoms of PTSD. For the most part Prazosin is well tolerated. It is usually given at night and it can cause drowsiness, which of course is one of the reasons it can help with difficulty falling asleep. Blood pressure needs to be monitored, and there can be occasional daytime sluggishness. There is no regular blood work or other labs that need to done as part of using Prazosin.

Dr. William Holmes, MD, is the Senior Medical Director and the Medical Director for the Foster Care of Cenpatico Behavioral Health.  To submit a question to Dr. Holmes, please email him at askdrholmes@nfpaonline.org.

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